LCBO launches Craft Beer Zone at Summerhill store

standard LCBO launches Craft Beer Zone at Summerhill store

Beer is coming to grocery stores in Ontario — at some point — and the LCBO is obviously doing whatever it can to shore up its head start when things become more competitive. The Ontario Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, was at the Summerhill LCBO today to open the store’s new craft beer section that includes the government-owned retailer’s first growler-filling station. It may be happening slowly and much more timidly than I’d like, but change is afoot for how beer is sold in Ontario. You can read more about one of these changes — growlers at the Summerhill LCBO […]

Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

standard Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

Compared to “what is craft beer?” the slightly less nebulous “what is a session ale” is an easier question to answer. These are beers well-suited to a several-pint night because they are lower in alcohol than usual and have a balanced flavour profile. The idea grew out the British tradition where a session at the local pub has friends take turns buying a round (hence the lower ABV), so the beers usually are also made to stylistically nod in the general direction of England. The full First Draught for this week is over on

LCBO Winter 2014 Craft Beer Release Prices

standard LCBO Winter 2014 Craft Beer Release Prices

I quite enjoyed the process of creating my table of craft beer benchmark prices. There seemed to be a fairly enthusiastic response to it. But, why keep going with this shtick? Well, despite the implication from Garrett Oliver a while back on Facebook that one would have to be a real wet blanket to consider beer based on its price per litre, I think this is something that needs more attention. In Toronto, there are enough beer writers scribbling away that we do a very good job of packing the LCBO’s small tasting room to the brim and yet, I feel like value has […]

Mikkeller k:rlek

standard Mikkeller k:rlek

By choosing Mikkeller, Denmark’s second-best-known brewery, for their current feature, the LCBO seems to have earned a tentative thumbs-up from Ontario’s beer geek community. More than anyone, that’s who the brewery feature is aimed at. These are six unusual, wacky beers that will only be on shelves for a single season. The k:rlek American pale ale is my favourite from the lot. The rest of this week’s First Draught is over on the the Post City Magazines site.

Benchmarking craft beer prices in Ontario

standard Ontario Craft Beer Benchmark Prices

Just like every other system, the LCBO and Beer Store duopoly has its pluses and minuses. It’s worth noting that getting Ontarians a comparatively good price on certain craft beers – especially classic, but high production Belgians like Rochefort 8 and Chimay Blue – is one of the appreciated up-sides. It’s also clear from sales data, conversations I’ve had with employees, and rough observation that the LCBO has devoted a big chunk of its selection of the past couple years to new Ontario beers. If “supporting local” is a priority for you, then this should make you smile, at least begrudgingly. As […]

LCBO Beer Guy Interview (Unexpurgated Version)

standard LCBO Beer Guy Interview (Unexpurgated Version)

I really love talking about food and beer. It comes with the territory as a freelance writer who focuses on those topics. For a recent Eater Toronto story, I got to do an interview that was intriguing enough that it went on for a couple hours and I had to chop quite a bit of it to make it down to a reasonable length. Josh Bird (a.k.a The Beer Phantom) who recently left the LCBO was the answering half of the Q & A. While he worked there, Josh was a customer service rep and the “beer guy” at the LCBO […]